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Every week, we post from seven to ten news stories from Israel with a suggested prayer focus and scripture for each one, guiding readers how to pray for Israel’s most urgent needs. This Prayer Update is also sent to over 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

Netanyahu Stresses Commitment to Peace ahead of Trump Visit

by Ilse Posselt

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PM Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo Credit: MFA)

Monday, 08 May 2017 | The first offer came 70 years ago. In 1947, the United Nations Partition Plan presented the Palestinians with the opportunity for their own state alongside Israel—and a future of peace and stability. The Palestinians responded with a firm “no thank you” and started a war. The second offer came in 2000 with the Camp David Accords. Once again, the Palestinians turned their backs on peace and an independent state of their own—and started the Second Intifada (uprising). The third opportunity came in 2008, when the Palestinians were offered nearly everything they had demanded over the years: a Palestinian state on roughly 97% of Judea and Samaria and a capital in east Jerusalem. But Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas simply thumbed his nose at the offer and continued to peddle the Palestinian victim narrative of Israeli occupation and oppression to an international audience.

Despite a history marked by Israeli efforts met with Palestinian refusals, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains optimistic about the prospect of a future of peaceful coexistence in the Promised Land. Moreover, he is eager to work with United States (US) President Donald Trump to achieve this goal.

Speaking during the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu told Israeli lawmakers, “The president wants to examine ways to renew the peace process with the Palestinians. I share this desire and the citizens of Israel share this desire; we want peace.”

The Prime Minister’s comments come ahead of the US president’s visit to Israel later this month. “In two weeks, Israel will host US President Donald Trump and his wife on his first trip outside the United States as president,” Netanyahu said. “The president will be warmly welcomed here as a great friend of Israel and in a manner that is worthy for a leader of our great ally, the United States.”

The itinerary for Trump’s trip includes stops in the capitals of the three Abrahamic religions: Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Vatican. Trump, together with his wife, Melania, daughter, Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner will visit the Jewish state on 22 May 2018 and will reportedly spend the night in Jerusalem. During his time in the Promised Land, the President is set to meet with Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Abbas.

Trump has long since expressed his interest in spearheading a successful Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, hailing it as “the ultimate deal.” Moreover, according to reports, the US president has already embarked on his attempts to hammer out such a deal and there are speculations that he will begin the process of setting up an Israeli-Palestinian peace summit shortly after this month’s trip.

During a meeting between Trump and Abbas last week, the US president expressed confidence in his ability to bring about a solution that would help Israelis and Palestinians reach an agreement. “We will get it done,” he vowed.

For his part, the PA president said that he would partner with Trump “in order to come to that deal, to that historic agreement, historic deal to bring about peace.” He was, however, quick to dictate the Palestinian terms and prerequisites for such an agreement: a return to pre-1967 lines as well as a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem.

The PA president also told Trump that the Palestinian people “are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace. And we are endeavoring to bring about security, freedom and peace for our children to live like the other children in the world.”

PM Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo Credit: Moshe Milner/GPO/Isranet)

Netanyahu used yesterday’s address at the weekly cabinet meeting to scoff at the claim. Referring to Abbas by his Arab moniker, the Prime Minister said, “I heard Abu Mazen, who praises terrorists and pays them according to the severity of the murders they committed against Israelis; I heard Abu Mazen say that the Palestinians are also educating their children for peace. I regret that this is simply incorrect.”

The Palestinian leadership has long since come under fire for inciting its youth to violence against Israelis, glorifying martyrdom and indoctrinating young minds to commit terror attacks. The incitement starts early on using children’s toys, television programs, songs, video games and social media. Palestinian streets, squares, schools and cultural institutions also often bear the names of Palestinian terrorists convicted of murdering Israelis.

The latest in a host of incidents occurred last month when it was revealed that prescribed textbooks for Palestinian first to fourth graders going to school in east Jerusalem, Hebron and Bethlehem teach little ones about the alleged glory and virtue of becoming a “martyr.” According to a report published by the Hebrew University’s Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), the PA’s 2016-2017 elementary school curriculum “teaches students to be martyrs, demonizes and denies the existence of Israel, and focuses on a ‘return’ to an exclusively Palestinian homeland.”

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 08 May 2017)

Prayer Focus
Bring PM Netanyahu and the Israeli cabinet before the Lord and pray for unity as they deal with and pursue the peace process. Ask God to instruct them with His will and wisdom. Pray for guidance as Israel prepares for the visit of President Trump.

Scripture

I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.


- Psalm 16:7-8

Abbas: I Am Ready to Meet Netanyahu

by Ilse Posselt

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Washington to meet PA President Mahmoud Abbas in September, 2010 (illustrative)

Thursday, 11 May 2017 | Just over a year ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a personal invitation to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “My door is always open for those who want peace with Israel. I have cleared my schedule for the week. Any day he can come, I will be here.”

The invitation, complete with a video clip and text, was posted on Netanyahu’s official Twitter page. A day later, the Israeli Foreign Ministry followed up on the offer, calling out both Abbas as well as the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Negotiations Affairs Department in the Tweet: #MahmoudAbbas, @IsraeliPM is inviting you to negotiate #peace. @nadplo, the ball is in your court now!

More than 12 months later, Abbas has yet to respond to Netanyahu’s invitation. In fact, since April 2016, the Jewish state has extended four invitations to the PA president to meet with the prime minister to discuss peace. Each time, Israel’s overtures were met with a resolute refusal.

Yet in the run-up to US President Donald Trump’s May 22 visit to Israel, Abbas seems to have changed his tune. Speaking at a press conference in Ramallah on Tuesday, the PA president told reporters that he is ready to meet with Netanyahu—provided that Trump presides over the meeting. “We told him [Trump] that we were ready to collaborate with him and meet the Israeli prime minister under his auspices to build peace.”

According to The Times of Israel, Abbas also reiterated his commitment to a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines that would reportedly enable Israel and the Palestinians to co-exist in peace and mutual security.

Trump has long since expressed his interest in spearheading a successful Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, hailing it as “the ultimate deal.” Yet reports that the US president had already set the wheels in motion to host a peace summit aimed at kick-starting renewed negotiations as early as this coming summer started to circulate following two meetings last month between Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and then King Abdullah II of Jordan. Speculation as to an imminent announcement of a prospective peace push intensified after Trump’s meeting with Abbas last week and again following the announcement of the US president’s visit to the Promised Land in two weeks’ time.

According to a leading Arab daily, the speculations hold true. London-based Al Hayat reported yesterday that Trump is set to use his upcoming trip to the region to announce a trilateral summit between himself, Netanyahu and Abbas. In fact, Palestinian officials told Al Hayat that a joint US-Palestinian committee had already begun preparations for the resumption of peace talks, which will reportedly run over the course of nine months to a year.

Moreover, according to The Times of Israel, the PA president asked Trump that the 2008 negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert serve as the foundation for any prospective talks between Abbas and Netanyahu. A Palestinian spokesperson confirmed the report on Tuesday, telling Haaretz that Abbas arrived at last week’s meeting with the US President armed with documents and maps detailing the Olmert plan.

Abbas’s rhetoric over the past few weeks certainly sounds like that of a man eager to lead his people to peace. Yet actions speak louder than words. The PA president’s actions over the past decade illustrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that peace with Israel is not on Abbas’s agenda—regardless of the passionate words he peddles to the media.

Abba’s sudden partiality to the Olmert plan is particularly surprising. The 2008 proposal offered the Palestinians nearly everything they had demanded over the years: a Palestinian state on roughly 97% of Judea and Samaria and a capital in east Jerusalem. Yet at the time, the PA president simply walked away from the negotiation table—and the chance for his people to live in peace. In fact, in 2015 Abbas admitted on Israeli television that he “rejected out of hand” the Olmert plan.

In 2014, Abbas was also responsible for bringing to an end the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians facilitated by the Americans. According to The Tower editor, David Hazony, Abbas simply balked at every point of concession. As such, Hazony argues, it is “extremely difficult to avoid the conclusion that Abbas was at no point actually embarking on a process that would include significant compromise or result in a peace agreement with Israel.”

According to The Tower, Abbas also rejected a peace offer in March 2015 during a meeting with American Vice President Joe Biden. The terms of the proposal reportedly included a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria as well as east Jerusalem in exchange for giving up the Palestinian “right of return” and recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 11 May 2017)

Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO/Isranet

Prayer Focus
Intercede for all discussions, public and private, regarding negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Pray that President Abbas will be held accountable for the words he speaks. Pray that President Trump will not be taken in or fooled.

Scripture

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies will not escape.


- Proverbs 19:5

Israel’s Covert War against Hezbollah’s Artillery

by Ron Ben-Yishai

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David’s Sling

Monday, 08 May 2017 | Reports of attacks in Syria attributed to Israel may indicate—one could certainly assume—a new stage in Israel’s defense against Hezbollah and Iran.

This self-defense has lasted for more than a decade, but now it seems that it focuses on one particular thing: defense against artillery; mainly, the missiles and rockets that Iran provides to Hezbollah to strike a critical blow against Israel’s home front.

Hezbollah and Iran’s goal is to be able to threaten vital infrastructures—water, electricity, healthcare services, transport, airfields and emergency supplies—in a way that Israel will have difficulty to recover from should a strike occur.

The new stage in Israel’s strategic defense may have not started today, but is now picking up pace as Israel has completed its multi-layer missile defense system David’s Sling, which became operational several weeks ago—completing what may be the most important layer in Israel’s defense system.

This system, formerly known as Magic Wand, is designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, fired at ranges from 40 km to 300 km [25 mi to 186 mi], which essentially covers most of Israel’s territories.

The Iranians and Hezbollah understand that the IDF’s [Israel Defense Forces] missile defense system, which is the first and only of its kind, challenges them and their ability to threaten and deter Israel. Even if they are not interested in starting a war with Israel at the moment, they always seek to preserve their level of deterrence against it.

For that reason, Iran has decided to change course and instead of arming Hezbollah with hundreds of thousands of imprecise missiles, they are now transitioning to an arsenal comprised mostly of precise missiles and rockets, some of which are even GPS-guided.

The explanation for that is simple: The Iranians and Hezbollah understand that David’s Sling is capable of intercepting more than 80% of their rockets, and so they intend to battle it using sheer volume—making it so that the IDF’s defense system has too many threats to defend against than it possibly could.

The Iranians also want to make sure that at least some of the missiles that will manage to pierce through Israel’s defense system will not just land in open fields, and so they are upgrading Hezbollah’s massive artillery—which is estimated to have more than 130 thousand missiles and rockets.

The aim is for the arsenal to be comprised of a larger percentage of guided and precise missiles and rockets, which even if only a few of them manage to avoid being shot down they will still inflict massive amount of damage.

This strategy is obvious to the IDF and worries Israel’s security operators a great deal. In fact, due to Iran’s increasing potential of nuclear capabilities it is now considered to be the main and most dangerous threat to the State of Israel due to its potential for large devastation in Israel’s home front.

The important role of military Intelligence

Israel is fully aware of these threats, and is therefore making efforts to gain intelligence on Iran’s attempts to arm Hezbollah with precise artillery and prevent Israel from stopping those shipments, sent to Hezbollah forces through Syria.

The attacks attributed to Israel on arms depots in Syria, if indeed carried out by it, show the increased efforts by both the Iranians to arm Hezbollah and by Israel to prevent it from taking place.

Iran is sending these shipments by—among other methods—commercial flights of Iranian or Iranian-owned airlines out of the assumption that Israel won’t know that a regular commercial flight from Tehran to Damascus will also carry missiles and rockets, most of which in pieces.

It is not unthinkable that Israel’s intelligence is working to learn of these attempts.

The battle between Iran and Israel’s intelligence systems is held behind a thick cover of secrecy. The Iranians don’t want to admit that they are arming Hezbollah through Syria since it breaches rules made by the United Nations Security Council. On its end, Israel is not admitting or denying that it is sabotaging these shipments.

And so, both sides are exploiting plausible deniability for their own interests, even if these “military installations” are hard to hide or ignore once they catch fire do to some “unknown missile strike.”

(Translated & edited by Lior Mor)

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 28 April 2017. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: IDFblog.com

Prayer Focus
Pray that Israel and the men and women of the IDF will trust in the Lord and give thanks to God for their excellent military capability and defense systems. Pray for supernatural eyes and intelligence to intercept more weapons destined for Iran and for adaptable strategies to counteract Iran’s threats.

Scripture

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.


- Isaiah 26:3-4

US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff in Israel as Mark of “Rock Solid” Ties

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PM Benjamin Netanyahu with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford

Thursday, 11 May 2017 | Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Israel Monday to meet with Israel’s top leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.

Dunford, was received at the Kirya, the headquarters of Israel’s Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, with an honor guard, The Times of Israel reported Tuesday. Eizenkot awarded Dunford a medal of appreciation “for his exceptional service, his special contribution to the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], and the personal leadership he has demonstrated in strengthening the ties between the United States Military and the Israel Defense Forces.”

In August of last year, Dunford had given Eizenkot a Legion of Merit medal for “exceptionally meritorious service.”

Lieberman greeted Dunford saying, “I applaud you for coming here and want to thank you for your great friendship to Israel,” according to a statement. Lieberman said that Dunford’s was “proof of the depth of the security relationship between the State of Israel and our great ally the United States.” Lieberman also said that the two would discuss the “shared strategic challenges” that the US and Israel face.

A statement from the US Department of Defense elaborated on a number of those challenges including the tri-border area where Israel, Jordan and Syria come together, the threat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and Iran’s continued support of organizations dedicated to Israel’s destruction. Dunford said “the major export of Iran is actually malign influence across the region.”

Netanyahu greeted Dunford saying, “It’s good to see you again. We have a great alliance between Israel and the United States, and a great alliance between the American military and the IDF. We appreciate it and we know that this alliance is good, not only for security but also good for peace.

Dunford replied that in his third visit to Israel in his current position he looked to “not only work on our overall relationship, but to work on my personal relationship with General Eizenkot, which is rock-solid and probably representative of the broader relationship that we have.”

The US Secretary of Defense James Mattis visited Israel last month and said that the United States “maintains absolute and unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.”

President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Israel later this month as part of his first trip abroad as president.

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 10 May 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/mfa.gov.il

Prayer Focus
Intercede for the relationship between Israel and the USA and ask God to protect the ‘rock solid’ tie. Pray specifically for General Dunford Jr, Defense Minister Lieberman and IDF Chief of Staff Eizenkot to persevere in fighting terrorism, asking for wise counselors in their midst and also praying for their family life to be peaceful and filled with joy as they conquer the world’s troubles.

Scripture

Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!


- Genesis 27:29

Netanyahu Throws Hamas’s New Policy Document in Trash

by Ilse Posselt

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PM Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo Credit: PMO webcast/mfa.gov.il)

Tuesday, 09 May 2017 | “Ever wonder what fake news is?”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posed this question over the weekend in an English video clip uploaded to his official Twitter page.

After stating his query, the prime minister continued to explain. “Last week, headlines in CNN, Al Jazeera and The Guardian said that Hamas now accepts a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines. The New York Times called this “moderation.” The intimation is that Hamas now accepts the State of Israel.”

“Great news, right?” Netanyahu smiled cynically.

“Well, except for one small detail,” he offered. “It is a complete distortion of the truth.”

The prime minister’s conversation refers to a new policy document that Hamas, the terror group ruling the Gaza Strip, issued last week in an apparent bid to remake its international image of violence, extremism and terror. The paper in question, which Hamas calls “A Document of General Principles and Policies,” claims that the terror group now graciously approves the State of Israel’s existence within pre-1967 borders. It also seeks to separate itself from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Netanyahu is right. At first glance last week’s document does appear to be an improvement on the Hamas charter of 1988, which explicitly calls for the annihilation and destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state on the entire strip of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea in its stead. Moreover, the charter also labels any peace talks, initiatives and proposals as “a waste of time and vain endeavors,” advocating that the only way to reach their goals was through jihad or holy war.

Yet popular blogger, Elder of Ziyon, points out, Hamas has been particularly careful to refrain from calling the new document a charter or to claim that it replaces the 1988 charter. In fact, quoting Felesteen, a Hamas newspaper, he reports, “Hamas denied that the document is an alternative to the Charter of the movement, which was released to coincide with its founding, at the end of the 1980s.”

(Photo credit: IDFblog.com)

Thus the implication is that the original charter is still valid and that Hamas remains committed to the guidelines and principles therein. “The entire purpose of the document is to present a false, moderate face to the West,” explains the blogger.

The New York Times agrees. While last week’s document seeks to “present a more moderate public face,” it is “unlikely to represent any profound change in Hamas’s true position toward Israel. The group recently chose a hard-liner, Yehya Sinwar, as its new leader in Gaza, and it has still in no way recognized Israel or renounced violence.”

Despite the lack of evidence, various international news outlets sang the praises of the new Hamas document, with The Irish Times claiming that it constitutes “a move to end peace deadlock” and the Financial Times reporting that “Hamas drops call for destruction of Israel.”

Netanyahu seeks to take to task reports such as these in his video message. “The new Hamas document says that Israel has no right to exist. It says every inch of our land belongs to the Palestinians. It says there is no acceptable solution other than to remove Israel. So why does Hamas say there is a consensus for a smaller Palestinian state now? In order to destroy Israel later. They want to use their state to destroy our state.”

“It is bad enough that Hamas lies to the world,” Netanyahu offered. “We do not also have to lie to ourselves. Hamas murders women and children. It has launched tens of thousands of missiles at our homes. It brainwashes Palestinian kids in suicide kindergarten camps.”

“So, where does this hate-filled document belong?” Picking up an official-looking copy embellished with the Hamas logo, the prime minister crumpled the piece of paper and tossed it into the trash can. “Right there,” he concluded.

Hamas was formed in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the banned Egyptian Islamist movement, Reuters reports. Given its failure to renounce violence, recognize Israel and agree to Israeli-Palestinian peace accords, a number of countries classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars over the past decade, the last being Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Hamas has also been responsible for carrying out hundreds of bloody terror attacks in Israel.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 09 May 2017)

Prayer Focus
Implore the Lord to stretch out His hand against the biased media coverage of Israel. Ask for discernment and honesty in reporting. Pray for the nations to understand the schemes the enemy is using to war against Israel, poisoning minds all over the world.

Scripture

Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.


- Hosea 14:9 NIV

Israel Reprimands Turkey’s Erdogan over Accusations of “Massacres and Cruelty”

by Ilse Posselt

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Al-Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount (Photo credit: Godot13/Wikimedia)

Wednesday, 10 May 2017 | A number of high-level government officials in the Jewish state spoke out strongly against Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, over a number of accusations that he had leveled against Israel on Monday.

Speaking during the opening of the Al-Quds Forum in Istanbul, a two-day conference that draws delegates from around the world to deliberate Jerusalem’s Muslim heritage, Erdogan told his audience that the State of Israel is guilty of a whole host of evils, including “massacres and cruelty” against the Palestinians, occupation and oppression as well as discrimination and racism.

Later on Monday Erdogan also met with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, during which the Turkish president underscored “the necessity of unifying efforts to protect Jerusalem against attempts of Judaization.”

It did not take long for Israel to respond to Erdogan’s charges. The Foreign Ministry released a statement on Monday evening. “Those who systematically violate human rights in their own country should not preach to the only true democracy in the region. Israel consistently protects total freedom of worship for Jews, Muslims and Christians—and will continue to do so despite the baseless slander launched against it.”

On Tuesday morning, Foreign Ministry Director-general Yuval Rotem telephoned Kemal Okem, the Turkish ambassador in Israel, at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for what the ministry labels a “clarification conversation.” According to The Times of Israel, the message that Rotem conveyed to Okem was along the same lines as the statement the ministry released the night before.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Photo credit: World Economic Forum/Wikimedia)

Erdogan’s comments regarding the so-called Judaization of Jerusalem also elicited reproach from various Israeli politicians. Referring to the Turkish president’s remarks, President Reuven Rivlin told visiting Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, “We have heard voices which attack Israel for building Jewish life in Jerusalem—for the last 150 years there has been a Jewish majority in Jerusalem, even under the Ottoman Empire,” the president clarified.

“Jerusalem is a microcosm of our ability to live together. And we will continue to ensure freedom of religion for all faiths,” he vowed. “Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian community is flourishing. And Israel is committed to the values of freedom of religion for all people of faith. This is our value and our duty as a Jewish-democratic state.”

Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, also took the Turkish president to task. “It is surprising that Erdogan, who leads a state that occupied Jerusalem for 400 years, wants to preach to us about how to manage our city,” the mayor began.

“Unlike during the Turkish occupation,” Barkat continued, “Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty is a flourishing, open and free city that allows freedom of religion and worship for all. In recent years, record numbers of Muslims have visited the Temple Mount and held prayers, exercising their absolute freedom of religion under Israeli sovereignty.”

Highlighting the Jewish people’s historical and biblical ties to the City of Gold, Barkat said, “The connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem dates back more than 3,000 years. Jerusalem is and will remain our eternal, united capital forever. In every corner of the city, we see Jewish roots—from the time of the First and Second Temples, to the Muslim period and the Ottoman conquest.”

The mayor then called on the Turkish president to take a trip to the City of Gold. “As we celebrate 50 years of reunited Jerusalem, I invite Erdogan to visit our city and to be amazed by the reality on the ground—a reality that has changed only for the better since the Turks ruled here,” Barkat concluded.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 10 May 2017)

Prayer Focus
Cry out for Jerusalem! As Israel prepares to celebrate 50 years of the reunification of Jerusalem, the enemy is stirring up evil. Thank God for writing His name there; pray for peace in Jerusalem. Beseech God to protect those who are vulnerable to lies and reveal the truth of Israel. Pray for Christians and Jews to rise up and advocate for Israel.

Scripture

Then you will know that I, the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.


- Joel 3:17 NIV

Action
Have you read, “Jerusalem, the Place God Chose,” our May Teaching Letter written by CEO and President Rebecca J. Brimmer? If not visit our website and you will be amazed to learn how God wrote His name on the mountains surrounding His city, the city of Jerusalem.

Son of Ethiopian Immigrants Encouraged Ukrainian Jews to Make Aliyah

by Israel Moshkovitch

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New immigrants from Ukraine upon arrival at Ben Gurion airport (illustrative)

Friday, 12 May 2017 | Last week, Uri Biv, 31, a son of immigrants from Ethiopia and a member of the Nazareth Illit city council, left on a campaign to encourage immigration to Israel (and to Nazareth Illit in particular). Biv’s destination was Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.

Biv was born in Kfar Saba to parents who immigrated to Israel during Operation Moses. When he was four, the family moved to Nazareth Illit. He studied political science at Emek Yezreel College and married Gili Segal three and a half years ago. He was first elected to the city council three years ago.

Biv attended a conference in Kiev attended by hundreds of Jews from all over Ukraine. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was a partner in financing the trip. “When the mayor suggested that I go on a delegation to encourage immigration to Israel, it was unexpected because I was a member of the opposition. He put politics aside and made a decision for the good of the city,” he said.

Biv was not concerned about the language problem. “I speak fluent English, and a translator will join me to help me with the immigrants,” he explained. “As a young man of Ethiopian origin, integration into Israel was not easy. I reached where I am, and I’m an example of successful absorption in Israel.

“As the son of immigrants, this is the most important Zionist mission I could have. I’ll do everything I can to convince the Ukrainian immigrants to come to Nazareth Illit.”

A few days before the flight to Kiev, Biv met with new immigrants from the former Soviet Union who were studying at the absorption center in the city and received a few tips from them. Alexander Smolensky, 23, who immigrated to Israel from Ukraine three months ago, said, “I never encountered an emissary of Ethiopian origin. It could be very successful.”

Ronen Plot, the mayor of Nazareth Illit, said, “I chose Uri Biv to go on the mission and to encourage immigrants from Ukraine to come to Nazareth Illit because he is a successful example of absorption.”

(Translated and edited by J. Herzog)

Source: (Ynetnews originally published this article on 04 May 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Ashernet

Prayer Focus
Pray that Uri’s first-hand account of a successful immigration story will be a motivation for Ukrainian Jews to overcome their fears of starting a new life in another country. Thank God that word is going out to Jews in other nations who are considering making aliyah to their own Jewish homeland.

Scripture

So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing shall flee away.


- Isaiah 51:11

‘Lancet’ Editor “Deeply Regrets” Attacks on Israel and Dedicates New Issue to Jewish State

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Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet

Wednesday, 10 May 2017 | Nearly three years after publishing a virulently anti-Israel letter which whitewashed Hamas and accused Israel of war crimes, The Lancet, a highly regarded medical journal published an issue highlighting health care in Israel, Ynet reported Monday.

Subsequent to The Lancet‘s publication of the letter, the publication’s editor, Richard Horton, was invited to Israel by Professor Karl Skorecki, Director of Medical and Research Development at Rambam Hospital in Haifa. Horton, while in Israel, also met with Prof. Rafael Beyar, Director of Rambam Health Care Campus and Prof. Mark Clarfield of Ben-Gurion University.

During his visit, Horton said that he “deeply, deeply regrets” the publication of the letter attacking Israel and decided to devote a future issue to exploring Israel’s health care system. The just-published issue featured ten articles written by Israel doctors and researchers focusing on three major topics, Rambam Hospital, Ben-Gurion University and Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research.

“We wanted to turn the unfortunate episode into a constructive and positive lever that will lead to recognition of Israel’s advantages for global health,” Horton explained in the final article in the issue.

“We hope that this special issue will not only improve health and equality in health within Israel, but between Israel and its neighbors, which will also serve as a platform for greater involvement of Israeli doctors and researchers in global health issues,” he added.

Horton not only advocated greater collaboration with Israeli medical professionals, but asserted that “boycotting academics and Israeli professionals, as led by the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement, is inefficient and will never be effective in helping shape public and political opinion that will promote a solution, on the contrary, it will harm these goals.”

“The special issue on Israel will not be a one-time project,” Horton said. “It is the beginning of a close partnership.”

In “A Serious Medical Journal Just Went Totally Clinical,” which was published in the November 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, Liam Hoare wrote about the controversy over The Lancet‘s publishing a letter condemning Israel during Operation Protective Edge.

Hoare noted that while Horton did not express regret over having published the letter, after visiting Israel he committed not to publish anything similar in the future. Moreover, after visiting Israel, and Rambam Hospital, in particular, Horton wrote, “I saw Rambam as one example of a vision for a peaceful and productive future between peoples, which I learned exists throughout Israel’s hospitals.”

Source: (This article was originally published by The Israel Project, in its publication The Tower on 09 May 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/World Health Summit/Youtube

Prayer Focus
Give thanks to the Lord for the change of heart experienced by Lancet editor when he visited Israeli hospitals. Pray that this edition filled with Israeli medical knowledge, will be a remarkable seller and a great tool to advance medical care around the world.

Scripture

Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.


- Zechariah 8:23

Israel’s Bond with Her Non-Jewish Friends

by Edgar Asher

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Friday, 12 May 2017 | It has only been a few years since the ‘Friends of Zion Museum’ opened in central Jerusalem. The museum sets out to depict the story of non-Jews who have, by their love and courage of the Jewish people, played an important role in the establishment of the Jewish state.

Using the most sophisticated audio visual presentation, virtually unique in Israel, the museum tells the story of non-Jews who, for the love of Israel and the Jewish people, contributed so much towards the establishment of the State of Israel. Often these individuals did so even though their own lives were on the line. In some cases they paid for their love of Israel with their own lives.

The exciting presentation is divided into seven separate themes—first an appraisal of modern Israel, against a biblical map of the Land of Israel. The second is an appraisal of the vision of Abraham, Moses and Ezekiel. The third theme is about people in the early nineteenth century who supported the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel. These included Willem and Elizabeth Ten Boom and George Bush, grandfather and great grandfather of Presidents Bush respectively. The fourth is about visionaries, such as Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and Lord Balfour. The fifth concerns the Second World War and Christians who saved Jews. These include Oskar Schindler, Raoul Wallenberg and Chiune Sugihara. Theme six deals with the ‘Path to Statehood’ and features Orde Wingate, General Marie Pierre Koenig and Harry Truman among others. Finally in a surprise special effect, the museum features the people who support Israel now—the visitors to the museum.

The museum represents the bond between Israel and the Christian peoples.

Source: (Ashernet originally published this article on 09 May, 2017. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Prayer Focus
Rejoice in the Lord as He continues to restore the Hebraic roots of the Christian faith. Thank and pray for the Friends of Zion museum as they teach their visitors about the rich history of Christian support for Israel. Pray that word of mouth will result in many tourists adding this gem to their tour itinerary.

Scripture

Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations, and set up My standard for the peoples; they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders…”


- Isaiah 49:22

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